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Barcelona Open: Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem enter third round

Bopanna and Cuevas lost to the top seeds.

Zverev was walloped 1-6, 1-6 by the King of Clay Nadal on his 20th birthday in the pre-quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters last week
 

World No. 21 Alexander Zverev kept his hopes of meeting Rafael Nadal at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell alive after coming back from a break down in the decider to beat Nicolas Almagro at this ATP 500 tournament on Tuesday. The 20-year-old German trailed 1-3 before levelling the third set for a narrow 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4 victory over the 2013 runner-up Almagro in 2 hours 25 minutes.

Zverev was walloped 1-6, 1-6 by the King of Clay Nadal on his 20th birthday in the pre-quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters last week. It was the first time that the 14-time Grand Slam champion had such a hassle-free outing against the German. Zverev held a match point before losing their first meeting while in their second encounter, the fast-rising youngster stretched Rafa to five sets at the 2017 Australian Open.

The humiliating loss on the clay courts of Monte Carlo is a big reason why Zverev took a last-minute wildcard into Barcelona this week, as admitted by the German.

The eighth seed is eager for a rematch with the ten-time Monte Carlo Masters winner, who is seeking another record-extending tenth title at the Catalan capital this week. The two are slated to meet each other in the quarter-finals.

For that to happen, the 20-year-old first has to win a potential third round meeting with his veteran compatriot Philipp Kohlschreiber. The third-seeded Nadal, on his part, has to beat the 69th ranked Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil before overcoming the lanky Kevin Anderson in the third round.

Anderson slammed shut the door on the 13th seed David Ferrer 6-3, 6-4 in the second round on Tuesday.

Fourth seed Dominic Thiem, meanwhile, had it pretty easy against the 42nd ranked Briton Kyle Edmund, who was the only player to take a set off Nadal last week. The Austrian carved out three breaks of serve for a 6-1, 6-4 win.

He will next face the winner of the second round match between Mischa Zverev and Dan Evans.

Japanese lucky loser Yuichi Sugita caused a big upset by sending the ninth seed Richard Gasquet home with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) win. Sugita had beaten former champion Tommy Robredo a day earlier.

Bernard Tomic edged Dustin Brown 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 to enter the second round.

Bopanna/Cuevas go down in a tight opener

Australian Open champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers avenged their shock Monte Carlo defeat by beating last week’s champions Rohan Bopanna and Pablo Cuevas, 7-6(3), 7-6(2). The Indo-Uruguayan combine had edged the top seeds in a match tie-break in the quarter-finals at the Principality of Monaco on their way to the title.

The two teams stayed on serve in a tight first set. The second set, in contrast, turned out to be a breakfast where each team broke the other twice. Kontinen and Peers were able to raise their level in the tie-breaks to clinch the win in 1 hour 29 minutes.

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